Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf – Alexander Afanasyev

//Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf – Alexander Afanasyev
Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf – Alexander Afanasyev 2016-12-18T01:47:02+00:00

Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf

by Alexander Afanasyev

In a certain far-away Tzardom not in this Empire, there lived a Tzar named Wyslaff, who had three sons: the first Tzarevich Dimitry, the second Tzarevich Wassily, and the third Tzarevich Ivan.

The Tzar had a walled garden, so rich and beautiful that in no kingdom of the world was there a more splendid one. Many rare trees grew in it whose fruits were precious jewels, and the rarest of all was an apple-tree whose apples were of pure gold, and this the Tzar loved best of all.

One day he saw that one of the eolden apples was missing. He placed guards at all gates of the garden; but in spite of this, each morning on counting, he found one more apple gone. At length he set men on the wall to watch day and night, and these reported to him that every night there came flying into the garden a bird that shone like the moon, whose feathers were gold and its eyes like crystal, which perched on the apple tree, plucked a golden apple and flew away.

Tzar Wyslaff was greatly angered, and calling to him his two eldest sons, said: “My dear children, I have for many days sought to decide which one of you should inherit my Tzardom and reign after me. Now, therefore, to the one of you who will catch the Glowing Bird, which is the thief of my golden apples, and will bring it to me alive, I will during my life give the half of the Tzardom, and he shall rule after me when I am dead.”

The two sons, hearing, rejoiced, and shouted with one voice: "Gracious Sir! We shall not fail to bring you the Glowing Bird alive!"

Tzarevich Dimitry and Tzarevich Wassily cast lots to see who should have the first trial, and the lot fell to the eldest, Tzarevich Dimitry, who at evening went into the garden to watch. He sat down under the apple-tree and watched till mid night, but when midnight was passed he fell asleep.

In the morning the Tzar summoned him and said: “Well, my son, didst thou see the Glowing Bird who steals my golden apples?" Being ashamed to confess that he had fallen asleep, however, Tzarevich Dimitry answered: "No, gracious Sir ; last night the bird did not visit thy garden.”

The Tzar, however, went himself and counted the apples, and saw that one more had been stolen.

On the next evening Tzarevich Wassily went into the garden to watch, and he too fell asleep at midnight, and next morning when his father summoned him, he, like his brother, being ashamed to tell the truth, answered: "Gracious Sir, I watched throughout the night, but the Glowing Bird that steals the golden apples did not enter thy garden.”

And again, Tzar Wyslaff went himself and counted and saw that another golden apple was missing.

On the third evening Tzarevich Ivan asked permission to watch in the garden, but his father would not permit it. “Thou art but a lad," he said, “and mightest be frightened in the long, dark night.”

But Ivan continued to beseech him till at length the Tzar consented.

So Tzarevich Ivan took his place in the garden, and sat down to watch under the apple-tree that bore the golden apples. He watched an hour, he watched two hours, he watched three hours. When midnight drew near sleep almost overcame him, but he drew his dagger and pricked his thigh with its point till the pain aroused him. And suddenly, an hour after midnight, the garden became bright as if with the light of many fires, and the Glowing Bird came flying on its golden wings to alight on the lowest bough of the apple-tree.

Tzarevich Ivan crept nearer, and as it was about to pluck a golden apple in its beak he sprang toward it and seized its tail. The bird, however, beating with its golden wings, tore itself loose and flew away, leaving in his hand a single long feather. He wrapped this in a handkerchief, lay down on the ground and went to sleep.

In the morning Tzar Wyslaff summoned him to his presence, and said: “Well, my dear son, thou didst not, I suppose, see the Glowing Bird?"

Then Tzarevich Ivan unrolled the handkerchief, and the feather shone so that the whole place was bright with it. The Tzar could not sufficiently admire it, for when it was brought into a darkened room it gleamed as if a hundred candles had been lighted. He put it into his royal treasury as a thing which must be safely kept for ever, and set many watchmen about the garden hoping to snare the Glowing Bird, but it came no more for the golden apples.

Then Tzar Wyslaff, greatly desiring it, sent for his two eldest sons, and said: "Ye, my sons, failed even to see the thief of my apples, yet thy brother Ivan, has at least brought me one of its feathers. Take horse now, with my blessing, and ride in search of it, and to the one of you who brings it to me alive will I give the half of my Tzardom.”

And the Tzareviches Dimitry and Wassily, envious of their younger brother Ivan, rejoiced that their father did not bid him also go, and mounting their swift horses, rode away gladly, both of them, in search of the Glowing Bird.

They rode for three days whether by a near or a far road, or on highland or lowland, the tale is soon told, but the journey is not done quickly till they came to a green plain from whose centre three roads started, and there a great stone was set with these words carved upon it:

"Who rides straight forward shall know both hunger and cold.

Who rides to the right shall live, though his steed be dead.

Who rides to the left shall die, though his steed shall live.”

They were uncertain what to do, since none of the three roads promised well, and turning aside into a pleasant wood, pitched their silken tents and gave themselves over to rest and idle enjoyment.

Now when days had passed and they did not return, Tzarevich Ivan besought his father to give him also his blessing, with leave to ride forth to search for the Glowing Bird, but Tzar Wyslaff denied him, saying: "My dear son, the wolves will devour thee. Thou art still young and unused to far and difficult journeying. Enough that thy brothers have gone from me. I am already old in age, and walk under the eye of God; if He take away my life, and thou too art gone, who will remain to keep order in my Tzardom? Rebellion may arise and there will be no one to quell it, or an enemy may cross our borders and there will be no one to command our troops. Seek not therefore to leave me!"

In spite of all, however, Tzarevich Ivan would not leave off his beseeching till at length his father consented, and he took Tzar Wyslaffs's blessing, chose a swift horse for his use and rode away he knew not whither.

Three days he rode, till he came to the green plain whence the three ways started, and read the words carved on the great stone that stood there.

"I may not take the left road, lest I die," he thought, “nor the middle road, lest I know hunger and cold. Rather will I take the right-hand road, whereon, though my poor horse perish, I at least shall keep my life.”

So he reined to the right.

He rode one day, he rode two days, he rode three days, and on the morning of the fourth day, as he led his horse through a forest, a great Grey Wolf leaped from a thicket. “Thou art a brave lad, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Wolf, “but didst thou not read what was written on the rock?" When the Wolf had spoken these words he seized the horse, and tearing it in pieces, devoured it and disappeared.

Tzarevich Ivan wept bitterly over the loss of his horse. The whole day he walked, till his weariness could not be told in a tale. He was near to faint from weakness, when again he met the Grey Wolf.

"Thou art a brave lad, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Wolf, “and for this reason I feel pity for thee. I have eaten thy good horse, but I will serve thee a service in payment. Sit now on my back and say whither I shall bear thee and wherefore.”

Tzarevich Ivan seated himself on the back of the Wolf joyfully enough. “Take me, Grey Wolf," he said, "to the Glowing Bird that stole my father s golden apples," and instantly the Wolf sped away, twenty times swifter than the swiftest horse. In the middle of the night he stopped at a stone wall.

"Get down from my back, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Wolf, “and climb over this wall. On the other side is a garden, and in the garden is an iron railing, and behind the railing three cages are hung, one of copper, one of silver, and one of gold. In the copper cage is a crow, in the silver one is a jackdaw, and in the golden cage is the Glowing Bird. Open the door of the golden cage, take out the Glowing Bird, and wrap it in thy handkerchief. But on no account take the golden cage ; if thou dost, great misfortune will follow.”

Tzarevich Ivan climbed the wall, entered the iron railing and found the three cages as the Grey Wolf had said. He took out the Glowing Bird and wrapped it in his handkerchief, but he could not bear to leave behind him the beautiful golden cage.

The instant he stretched out his hand and took it, however, there sounded throughout all the garden a great noise of clanging bells and the twanging of musical instruments to which the golden cage was tied by many invisible cords, and fifty watchmen, waking, came running into the garden.They seized Tzarevich Ivan, and in the morning they brought him before their Tzar, who was called Dolmat.

Tzar Dolmat was greatly angered, and shouted in a loud voice: “How now! This is a fine, bold-handed Cossack to be caught in such a shameful theft! Who art thou, from what country comest thou? Of what father art thou son, and how art thou named?"

"I come from the Tzardom of Wyslaff," answered Tzarevich Ivan, "son of Tzar Wyslaff, and I am called Ivan. Thy Glowing Bird entered my father's garden by night and stole many golden apples from his favourite tree. Therefore the Tzar my father, sent me to find and bring to him the thief.”

"And how should I know that thou speakest truth?" answered Tzar Dolmat. “Hadst thou come to me first I would have given thee the Glowing Bird with honour. How will it be with thee now when I send into all Tzardoms, declaring how thou hast acted shamefully in my borders? However, Tzarevich Ivan, I will excuse thee this if thou wilt serve me a certain service. If thou wilt ride across three times nine countries to the thirtieth Tzardom of Tzar Afron, and wilt win for me from him the Horse with the Golden Mane, which his father promised me and which is mine by right, then will I give to thee with all joy the Glowing Bird. But if thou dost not serve me this service, then will I declare throughout all Tzardoms that thou art a thief, unworthy to share thy father's honours.”

Tzarevich Ivan went out from Tzar Dolmat in great grief. He found the Grey Wolf and related to him the whole. "Thou art a foolish youth, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Wolf. "Why didst thou not recall my words and leave the golden cage?"

"I am guilty before thee!" answered Ivan sorrowfully.

"Well," said the Grey Wolf, “I will help thee. Sit on my back, and say whither I shall bear thee and wherefore.”

So Tzarevich Ivan a second time mounted the Wolfs back. “Take me, Grey Wolf," he said, "across three times nine countries to the thirtieth Tzardom, to Tzar Afron s Horse with the Golden Mane.”

At once the Wolf began running, fifty times swifter than the swiftest horse. Whether it was a long way or a short way, in the middle of the night he came to the thirtieth Tzardom, to Tzar Afron s Palace, and stopped beside the royal stables, which were built all of white stone.

"Now, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Wolf, "get down from my back and open the door. The stablemen are all fast asleep, and thou mayest win the Horse with the Golden Mane. Only take not the golden bridle that hangs beside it. If thou takest that, great ill will befall thee.”

Tzarevich Ivan opened the door of the stables and there he saw the Horse with the Golden Mane, whose brightness was such that the whole stall was lighted by it. But as he was leading it out he saw the golden bridle, and its beauty tempted him to take it also. Scarcely had he touched it, however, when there arose a great clanging and thundering, for the bridle was tied by many cords to instruments of brass. The noise awakened the stable men, who came running, a hundred of them, and seized Tzarevich Ivan, and in the morning led him before Tzar Afron.

The Tzar was much surprised to see so gallant a youth accused of such a theft. “What I" he said, "thou art a goodly lad to be a robber of my horses. Tell me from what Tzardom dost thou come, son of what father art thou, and what is thy name?"

"I come from the Tzardom of Tzar Wyslaff," replied Tzarevich Ivan, "whose son I am, and my name is Ivan. Tzar Dolmat laid upon me this service, that I bring him the Horse with the Golden Mane, which thy father promised him and which is his by right.”

"Hadst thou come with such a word from Tzar Dolmat," answered Tzar Afron, “I would have given thee the horse with honour, and thou needst not have taken it from me by stealth. How will it be with thee when I send my heralds into all Tzardoms declaring thee, a Tzar s son, to be a thief?"

However, Tzarevich Ivan, I will excuse thee this if thou wilt serve me a certain service. Thou shalt ride over three times nine lands to the country of the Tzar whose daughter is known as Helen the Beautiful, and bring me the Tzarevna to be my wife. For I have loved her for long with my soul and my heart, and yet cannot win her. Do this and I will forgive thee this fault and with joy will give thee the Horse with the Golden Mane and the golden bridle also for Tzar Dolmat. But if thou dost not serve me this service, then will I name thee as a shameful thief in all Tzardoms.”

Tzarevich Ivan went out from the splendid Palace weeping many tears, and came to the Grey Wolf and told him all that had befallen.

"Thou hast again been a foolish youth," said the Wolf. “Why didst thou not remember my warning not to touch the golden bridle?"

"Grey Wolf," said Ivan still weeping, “I am guilty before thee!"

"Well," said the Wolf, “be it so. I will help thee. Sit upon my back and say whither I shall bear thee and wherefore.”

So Tzarevich Ivan wiped away his tears and a third time mounted the Wolfs back.

"Take me, Grey Wolf," he said, “across three times nine lands to the Tzarevria who is called Helen the Beautiful. And straightway the Wolf began running, a hundred times swifter than the swiftest horse, faster than one can tell in a tale, until he came to the country of the beautiful princess. At length he stopped at a golden railing surrounding a lovely garden.

"Get down now, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Wolf, "go back along the road by which we came, and wait for me in the open field under the green oak tree.”

So Tzarevich Ivan did as he was bidden.

But as for the Grey Wolf, he waited there. Toward evening, when the sun was very low and its rays were no longer hot, the Tzar s daughter, Helen the Beautiful, went into the garden to walk with her nurse and the ladies-in-waiting of the Court. When she came near, suddenly the Grey Wolf leaped over the railing into the garden, seized her and ran off with her more swiftly than twenty horses. He ran to the open field, to the green oak- tree where Tzarevich Ivan was waiting, and set her down beside him. Helen the Beautiful had been greatly frightened, but dried her tears quickly when she saw the handsome youth.

"Mount my back, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Wolf, “and take the Tzarevna in your arms.”

Tzarevich Ivan sat on the Grey Wolf s back and took Helen the Beautiful in his arms, and the Wolf began running more swiftly than fifty horses, across the three times nine countries, back to the Tzardom of Tzar Afron. The nurse and ladies-in-waiting of the Tzarevna hastened to the Palace, and the Tzar sent many troops to pursue them, but fast as they went they could not overtake the Grey Wolf.

Sitting on the Wolfs back, with the Tzar's beautiful daughter in his arms, Tzarevich Iran began to love her with his heart and soul, and Helen the Beautiful began also to love him, so that when the Grey Wolf came to the country of Tzar Afron, to whom she was to be given, Tzarevich Ivan began to shed many tears.

"Why dost thou weep, Tzarevich Ivan?" asked the Wolf, and Ivan answered: “Grey Wolf, my friend! Why should I not weep and be desolate? I myself have begun to love Helen the Beautiful, yet now I must give her up to Tzar Afron for the Horse with the Golden Mane. For if I do not, then Tzar Afron will dishonour my name in all countries.”

"I have served thee in much, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Grey Wolf, “but I will also do thee this service. Listen. When we come near to the Palace, I myself will take the shape of the Tzar s daughter, and thou shalt lead me to Tzar Afron and shalt take in exchange the Horse with the Golden Mane. Thou shalt mount him and ride far away. Then I will ask leave of Tzar Afron to walk on the open steppe, and when I am on the steppe with the Court ladies-in-waiting, thou hast only to think of me, the Grey Wolf, and I shall come once more to thee.”

As soon as the Wolf had uttered these words, he beat his paw against the damp ground and instantly he took the shape of the Tzar s beautiful daughter: so like to her that no one in the world could have told that he was not the Tzarevna herself. Then, bidding Helen the Beautiful wait for him outside the walls, Tzarevich Ivan led the Grey Wolf into the Palace to Tzar Afron.

The Tzar, thinking at last he had won the treasure he had so long desired as his wife, was very joyful, and gave Tzarevich Ivan, for Tzar Dolmat, the Horse with the Golden Mane and the golden bridle. And Tzarevich Ivan, mounting, rode out side the walls to the real Helen the Beautiful, put her before him on the saddle and set out across the three times nine countries back to the Tzardom of Tzar Dolmat.

As to the Grey Wolf, he spent one day, he spent two days, he spent three days in Tzar Afron s Palace, all the while having the shape of the beautful Tzarevna, while the Tzar made preparations for a plendid bridal. On the fourth day he asked the Tzar s permission to go for a walk on the open steppe.

"Oh, my beautiful Tzar s daughter," said Tzar Afron, “I grant thee whatever thou mayest wish. Go then and walk where it pleaseth thee, and per chance it will soothe thy grief and sorrow at part ing from thy father.”

So he ordered serving- women and all the ladies-in-waiting of the Court to walk with her.

But all at once, as they walked on the open steppe, Tzarevich Ivan, far away, riding with the real Helen the Beautiful on the Horse with the Golden Mane, suddenly bethought himself and cried: "Grey Wolf, Grey Wolf, I am thinking of thee now. Where art thou?"

At that very instant the false Princess, as she walked with the ladies-in-wait ing of Tzar Afron s Court, turned into the Grey Wolf, which ran off more swiftly than seventy horses. The ladies-in-waiting hastened to the Palace and Tzar Afron sent many soldiers in pursuit, but they could not catch the Grey Wolf and soon he overtook Tzarevich Ivan.

"Mount on my back, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Wolf, “and let Helen the Beautiful ride on the Horse with the Golden Mane.”

Tzarevich Ivan mounted the Grey Wolf, and the Tzarevna rode on the Horse with the Golden Mane, and so they went on together to the Tzardom of

Tzar Dolmat, in whose garden hung the cage with the Glowing Bird. Whether the way was a long one or a short one, at length they came near to Tzar Dolmat s Palace. Then Tzarevich Ivan, getting down from the Wolfs back, said:

"Grey Wolf, my dear friend! Thou hast served me many services. Serve me also one more, the last and greatest. If thou canst take the shape of Helen the Beautiful, thou canst take also that of this Horse with the Golden Mane. Do this and let me deliver thee to Tzar Dolmat in exchange for the Glowing Bird. Then, when I am far away on the road to my own Tzardom, thou canst again rejoin us.”

"So be it," said the Wolf and beat his paw against the dry ground, and immediately he took the shape of the Horse with the Golden Mane, so like to that the Princess rode that no one could have told one from the other. Then Tzarevich Ivan, leaving Helen the Beautiful on the green lawn with the real Horse with the Golden Mane, mounted and rode to the Palace gate. When Tzar Dolmat saw Tzarevich Ivan riding on the false Horse with the Golden Mane he rejoiced exceedingly. He came out, embraced Ivan in the wide courtyard and kissed him on the mouth, and taking his right hand, led him into his splendid rooms. He made a great festival, and they sat at oak tables covered with embroidered cloths and for two days ate, drank and made merry. On the third day the Tzar gave to Tzarevich Ivan the Glowing Bird in its golden cage. Ivan took it, went to the green lawn where he had left Helen the Beautiful, mounted the real Horse with the Golden Mane, set the Tzarevna on the saddle before him, and together they rode away across the three times nine lands towards his native country, the Tzardom of Tzar Wyslaff. As to Tzar Dolmat, for two days he admired the false Horse with the Golden Mane, and on the third day he desired to ride him. He gave orders, there fore, to saddle him, and mounting, rode to the open steppe. But as he was riding, it chanced that Tzarevich Ivan, far away with Helen the Beautiful, all at once remembered his promise and cried: “Grey Wolf, Grey Wolf, I am thinking of thee !" And at that instant the horse Tzar Dolmat rode threw the Tzar from his back and turned into the Grey Wolf, which ran off more swiftly than a hundred horses. Tzar Dolmat hastened to the Palace and sent many soldiers in pursuit, but they could not catch the Grey Wolf, and soon he overtook the Horse with the Golden Mane that bore Tzarevich Ivan and the Tzarevna.

"Get down, Tzarevich Ivan," said the Wolf, "mount my back and let Helen the Beautiful ride on the Horse with the Golden Mane."

So Tzarevich Ivan mounted the Grey Wolf and the Tzarevna rode on the Horse with the Golden Mane, and at length they came to the forest where the Wolf had devoured Tzarevich Ivan s horse. There the Grey Wolf stopped.

“Well, Tzarevich Ivan," he said, “I have paid for thy horse, and have served thee in faith and truth. Get down now, I am no longer thy servant."

Tzarevich Ivan got down from the Wolf s back, weeping many tears that they should part, and the Grey Wolf leaped into a thicket and disappeared, leaving Tzarevich Ivan, mounted on the Horse with the Golden Mane, with Helen the Beautiful in his arms who held in her hands the golden cage in which was the Glowing Bird, to ride to the Palace of Tzar Wyslaff.

They rode on three days, till cliey came to the green plain where the three ways met, and where stood the great stone, and being very tired, the Tzarevich and the Tzarevna here dismounted and lay down to rest. He tied the Horse with the Golden Mane to the stone, and lying lovingly side by side on the soft grass, they went to sleep. Now it happened that the two elder brothers of Ivan, Tzarevich Dimitry and Tzarevich Wassily, having tired of their amusements in the wood and being minded to return to their father without the Glowing Bird, came riding past the spot and found their brother lying asleep with Helen the Beautiful beside him. Seeing not only that he had found the Glowing Bird, but a horse with a mane of gold and a lovely Princess, they were envious, and Tzarevich Dimitry drew his sword, stabbed Tzarevich Ivan to death, and cut his body into small pieces. They then awoke Helen the Beautiful and began to question her.

"Lovely stranger," they asked, "from what Tzardom dost thou come, of what father art thou daughter, and how art thou named ?"

Helen the Beautiful, being roughly awakened, and seeing Tzarevich Ivan dead, was greatly frightened and cried with bitter tears: "I am the Tzar s daughter, Helen the Beautiful, and I belong to Tzarevich Ivan whom ye have put to a cruel death. If ye were brave knights, ye had ridden against him in the open field, then might ye have been victorious over him with honour, but instead of that ye have slain him when he was asleep. What praise will such an act receive?"

But Tzarevich Wassily set the point of his sword against her breast and said: “Listen, Helen the Beautiful ! Thou art now in our hands. We shall a lovely Princess, they were envious, and Tzarevich bring thee to our little father. Tzar Wyslaff, and thou shalt tell him that we, and riot Tzarevich Ivan, found the Glowing Bird, and won the Horse with the Golden Mane and thine own lovely self. If thou dost not swear by all holy things to say this, then this instant will we put thee to death 1" And the beautiful Tzar s daughter, frightened by their threats, swore that she would speak as they commanded.

Tzarevich Dimitry and Tzarevich Wassily cast lots to see who should take Helen the Beautiful and who the Horse with the Golden Mane and the Glowing Bird. The Princess fell to Tzarevich Wassily and the horse and the bird to Tzarevich Dimitry, and Tzarevich Wassily took Helen the Beautiful on his horse and Tzarevich Dimitry took the Glowing Bird and the Horse with the Golden Mane and both rode swiftly to the Palace of their father, Tzar Wyslaff.

The Tzar rejoiced greatly to see them. To Tzarevich Dimitry, since he had brought him the Glowing Bird, he gave the half of his Tzardom, and he made a festival which lasted a whole month, at the end of which time Tzarevich Wassily was to wed the Princess, Helen the Beautiful. As for Tzarevich Ivan, dead and cut into pieces, he lay on the green plain for thirty days. And on the thirty-first day it chanced that the Grey Wolf passed that way. He knew at once by his keen scent that the body was that of Tzarevich I van. While he sat grieving for his friend, there came fly ing an iron-beaked she-crow with two fledglings, who alighted on the ground and would have eaten of the flesh, but the Wolf leaped up and seized one of the young birds. Then the mother Crow, flying to a little distance, said to him: "O Grey Wolf, wolf s-son! Do not devour my little child, since it has in no way harmed thee."

And the Grey Wolf answered: "Listen, Crow, crow s-daughter! Serve me a certain service, and I will not harm thy fledgling. I have heard that across three times nine countries, in the thirtieth Tzardom, are two springs, so placed that none save a bird can come to them, which give forth, the one the water of death, and the other the water of life. Bring to me two bottles of these waters, and I will let thy fledgling go safe and sound. But if thou dost not, then I will tear it in pieces and devour it."

“I will indeed do thee this service, Grey Wolf," said the Crow, "only harm not my child," and immediately flew away as swiftly as an arrow. The Grey Wolf waited one day, he waited two days, he waited three days, and on the fourth day the she-crow came flying with two little bottles of water in her beak.

The Grey Wolf tore the fledgling into pieces. He sprinkled the pieces with the water of death and they instantly grew together, he sprinkled the dead body with the water of life and the fledgling shook itself and flew away with the she- crow, safe and sound. The Grey Wolf then sprinkled the pieces of the body of Tzarevich Ivan with the water of death and they grew together, he sprinkled the dead body with the water of life, and Tzarevich Ivan stood up, stretched himself and said: “How long I must have slept !"

“Yes, Tzarevich Ivan," the Grey Wolf said, “and thou wouldst have slept for ever had it not been for me. For thy brothers cut thee into pieces and took away with them the beautiful Tzar’s daughter, the Horse with the Golden Mane and the Glowing Bird. Make haste now and mount on my back, for thy brother Tzarevich Wassily to-day is to wed thy Helen the Beautiful."

Tzarevich Ivan made haste to mount, and the Grey Wolf began running, swifter than a hundred horses, toward the Palace of Tzar Wyslaff. Whether the way was long or short, he came soon to the city, and there at the gate the Grey Wolf stopped. “Get down now, Tzarevich Ivan," he said. “I am no longer a servant of thine and thou shalt see me no more, but sometimes remember the journeys thou hast made on the back of the Grey Wolf."

Tzarevich Ivan got down, and having bade the Wolf farewell with tears, entered the city and went at once to the Palace, where the Tzarevich Wassily was even then being wed to Helen the Beautiful. He entered the splendid rooms and came where they sat at table, and as soon as Helen the Beauti ful saw him, she sprang up from the table and kissed him on the mouth, crying: “This is my beloved, Tzarevich Ivan, who shall wed me, and not this wicked one, Tzarevich Wassily, who sits with me at table!"

Tzar Wyslaff rose up in his place and questioned Helen the Beautiful and she related to him the whole: how Tzarevich Ivan had won her, with the Horse with the Golden Mane and the Glowing Bird, and how his two elder brothers had slain him as he lay asleep and had threatened her with death so that she should say what they bade. Tzar Wyslaff, hearing, was angered like a great river in a storm. He commanded that the Tzare- viches Dimitry and Wassily be seized and thrown into prison, and Tzarevich Ivan, that same day, was wed to the Princess Helen the Beautiful. The Tzar made a great feast and all the people drank wine and mead till it ran down their beards, and the festival lasted many days till there was no one hungry or thirsty in the whole Tzardom. And when the rejoicing was ended, the two elder brothers were made, one a scullion and the other a cowherd, but Tzarevich Ivan lived always with Helen the Beautiful in such harmony and love that neither of them could bear to be without the other even for a single moment.